Entire IB Rattled By Shelling, Firing; Infiltrator Killed

Entire IB Rattled By Shelling, Firing; Infiltrator Killed

19 October 2013
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Entire International Border (IB) was rattled by heavy shelling and firing from Pakistan in Jammu region triggering first migration post-2001 Parliament attack tensions from village Suchetgarh Kullian in Samba sector, which was hit by mortar shells and heavy weapons firing from across the border last night. Pakistan Rangers opened firing at 26 places at Hiranagar, Samba, Arnia, RS Pura, Pargwal and Kanachak sectors, which continued throughout the last night as the Border Security Force (BSF) foiled an infiltration attempt at Suchetgarh Kullian in Samba sector killing a guide of the terrorists while the militants following him retreated to Pakistan. The hostilities along the IB have reached to such an extent that both sides even refused to hold a flag meeting with each other. However, the two sides spoke to each other on hotline. After a casual contact, the Rangers refused to take the body of slain intruder, who was buried in Samba with all rituals. Terrified villagers in several forward areas along the IB were worried about grown up paddy crops and their own future as they feared that if the firing and shelling didn’t stop immediately they would be left with no option but to migrate to safer places. Pakistan was reported to have suffered heavy casualties in retaliatory firing by the BSF but exact details of the number of killings across the border were not known. Official sources told the Excelsior that this was for the first time after heightened tensions on the border in Jammu region post-2001 Parliament attack that almost entire population of village Suchetgarh Kullian, located right on the IB, migrated this evening and took shelter in a community hall at Kali Bari near Samba railway station. While about 100 women and children reached the community hall, another 100 left for the houses of their relatives in different villages. One male member each stayed put in 70-odd houses in the village. “We were left with no option but to migrate after last night’s heavy shelling and firing in our village in which several houses were damaged and the people had a narrow escape. The people were terrified after mortar shells and bullets fell inside the houses,” Naib Sarpanch of Suchetgarh Kullian, Romesh Lal told the Excelsior on telephone. No senior officer from civil and police administration in Samba district bothered to visit the community hall till late tonight to inquire condition of the migrants and instead enjoyed Kapil Sharma’s comedy and Sunidhi Chouhan’s songs at 17 Miles. The border migrants strongly denounced civil and police administration for such kind of attitude towards them. “Thanks God, we had brought dinner with us. Otherwise, there was no one to ask us for even food,” one of the migrants, Romeshwar Ram said on phone. This was for the first time on the International Border that the people had to migrate from the forward village due to Pakistan shelling and firing after December 13, 2001 Parliament attack. The people from several border villages from Hiranagar to Pallanwalla had migrated due to build up of Army on both sides in the aftermath of militant attack on the Indian Parliament. Sources said people in several forward areas of Pargwal sector including Najwal, Matkoola, Maljodha, Jaman Bela and surroundings could migrate if Pakistan Rangers continued with shelling and firing. These villages directly fall in the line of Pakistan firing. The administration had yesterday put a Contingency Plan in place to tackle migration from border villages due to escalated tensions on the borders. The Rangers targeted almost the entire International Border in Jammu sector by resorting to heavy mortar shelling and firing at 26 forward Indian villages and BSF posts from Hiranagar in Kathua district to Pargwal in Akhnoor tehsil sending a wave of panic among the people putting up in the border villages, who had to spend sleepless night. There was no forward village in Hiranagar, Samba, Arnia, RS Pura, Kanachak and Pargwal, which were spared from pounding from across the border throughout the last night, sources said, adding this was for the third consecutive night of shelling and firing on the IB from Pakistan side. “The BSF retaliated very effectively at all the places with equal caliber of weapons. The retaliation from our side was necessitated to silence the Pakistani guns. Pakistan suffered heavy casualties (both fatal and non-fatal) in retaliation,” sources said and added that the firing was very intense up to 5 am after which intermittent exchanges were reported. A total of 26 forward villages and the BSF posts there came under heavy shelling and firing from Pakistan side. Major villages, which were targeted included Sade Chak, Dulma Chak, Regal, Suchetgarh Kullian, Khwara, Pansar in Hiranagar and Samba sectors, Budhwar and Tent in Arnia, Nikowal, Sangral, Mangral, Allah Mai De Kothe, Jai Kishan, Jugnu Chak and Nawa Pind in RS Pura, Najwal, Jaman Bela, Nikowal, Pargwal, Matkoola and Maljodha in Pargwal sector and Kanachak Forward. “This was for the first time that such the Rangers resorted to shelling and felling at such a large number of forward villages and BSF posts on the International Border in Jammu sector,” sources said. At 6 R post in Suchetgarh Kullian in Samba sector, the BSF foiled an infiltration attempt by the militants killing a guide, who was moving ahead of the group. After killing of the guide, the militants following him retreated to Pakistan. The BSF recovered body of the guide from near the fencing this morning and sent it to hospital for post-mortem. Rs 330 in Pakistan currency, packets of cigarettes and match box and some other items were recovered from him. The BSF offered flag meeting with the Rangers to return body of the Pakistani intruder as a goodwill gesture but they didn’t respond. The BSF too didn’t insist on the flag meeting. However, it established a contact with the Rangers on hotline and took strong exception to unprovoked firing by Pakistan in the civilian areas. The Rangers, as usual, remained in the denial mode. Police buried body of the Pakistani intruder in Samba sector with all rituals. Sources said the militants made multiple infiltration attempts on the IB but the BSF thwarted the bids. Several houses in the villages falling close to the IB were damaged in shelling and firing by the Rangers. The worst hit village was Suchetgarh Kullian in Samba and Najwal in Pargwal where mortars and bullets had caused extensive damage to the houses. Several cattle were injured in Jeora Farm in RS Pura sector. Sources said the fields in forward villages of Samba, Arnia, RS Pura and Pargwal sectors were filled with empties of bullets causing damage to the grown up paddy crops. The farmers were worried that the bumper crop this Monsoon would be damaged if the Rangers didn’t stop shelling and firing immediately. “We would be unable to cut the crops if the firing didn’t stop. Our hard work would go waste if the tensions didn’t reduce,” the villagers said on phone in Pargwal, RS Pura, Arnia, Samba, Hiranagar and Kanachak. Four BSF jawans and five civilians have been injured during last three days of firing by the Rangers on the IB.